Never the same

We are always at the beginning. It is always the very first time. Truly, there are no repetitions. When I play the piano, I often come to a repeat sign. Can that passage be repeated? If I am teaching a piano student and we see a repeat sign, I tell the student that there are no repeats. We return to the beginning of a certain passage, but it’s never the same. It’s always fresh. Someone asked me, “Don’t you get tired of answering the same questions day after day—what is Zen, how do we practice?” Never! It’s never the same question, because it’s always coming from a different person, in a different moment; and each person asks the question from his or her own state of mind. The words may sound alike, but each time they are coming from somewhere unique.

–Maurine Stuart, Subtle Sound, ed. Roko Sherry Chayat (Shambhala, 1996), 16

One Reply to “Never the same”

  1. Return without repetition/recurrence. *ponders*

    Yet there is “generic” or “specific” identity. Unless terms like “question” or “person” or “answer” are applied only on the basis of similarity, not sameness.

    But never “particular” identity. That sounds right, even though it’s not something one often talks about.


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